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Map Notes -- 
brief essays about a map in 
the HMCMS Map Collection   Map Notes


These notes, relevant to Hampshire, are taken from the Hereford manuscript Mappa Mundi, drawn late 13th century. The map is poorly displayed in Hereford Cathedral and most notes are made from published sources, qv. Many sources are not reliable about transcriptions of text; usually just a few illustrative bits are given. I have not yet found practical access to a good source.
map type: HantsMap & Mappa Mundi c1300
The map is a manuscript drawn on a single sheet of parchment, size: wxh = 133x158cm. The overall design is in the style of a medieval TO map, drawn from a religious stance.
NB these notes ignore most of the map. The British Isles is drawn in the lower left corner, distorted to modern eyes, and only two Hampshire features are shown.


map maker    
Written in the lower left corner is a poem in Old French:-
Tuz ki cest estoire out / Ou oyront ou liront ou verount / Prient a ihesu en deyte / De Richard de Haldingham e de Lafford eyt pitie / ki lat fet e compasse / Ki ioie en cel li seit doue.
Translated poetically by Rev G F Townsend, once vicar of Leominster:-
May all who this fair historie / Shal either hear, or read, or see, / Pray to Jesus Christ in Deity, / Richard of Haldingham and Lafford to pity; / That to him for aye be given, / The joy and happiness of heaven.
The phrase in the poem:-
ki lat fet e compasse
can be roughly translated:-
who designed and made it
Expert opinion is that the map was designed by a scholar and executed by a craftsman. Richard de Haldingham was author. From 1278-83 there was a prebendary at Lincoln Cathedral named Richard de Bello (of Battle), with responsibilities for the parishes of Haldingham and Sleaford. And in 1305 there was a Canon at Hereford Cathedral, prebendary of Norton. This might be one man, perhaps two, perhaps related.

The map is now a dull thing of browns and blacks. In its new state the parchment would have been much whiter. The black of the mineral based ink has probably survived well, but the vegetable dye colours have faded or altered. The bright green sea has become a brown. Blue rivers have flaked away. Only a little of the gilding remains.

labelled borders    
up is NE    

The map is labelled at the edges:-
It has Jerusalem at the centre and East at the top. The inner circular frame has wind heads and named winds.
The distorted British Isles sitting at the northwest corner of the map has North East at the top.

Twenty rivers are drawn [can be recognised?] in the British Isles. Winchester stands by the:-
fl ene.

scallop hills    

Some hills are shown by semicircular, scallop, shapes, perhaps piled up.
is a splendid example, and notice Clee Hill, from which flow Severn and Dee on the welsh border.

Britain is a kidney shape lying along the west edge of France in Europe; labelled:-
England is labelled:-
Kent is opposite Aquitane. Scotland is completely cut off from England by the river Tweed running from east to west coasts. Wales is almost separated by the rivers Dee and Severn nearly meeting at Clee Hill. Cornwall and part of Devon are cut off from the rest of England by the river Exe crossing the country.

Settlements are drawn as miniature pictures of towns with walls, buildings, towers, etc, of various grandeur; labelled with names. Twentysix towns are shown in the British Isles. The map tends to include places of ecclesiastical significance rather than commercial significance. But notice in the British Isles the castles of Caernarvon and Conway, built after the conquest of Wales by Edward I, 1282. Lincoln is an elaborate castle on its hill with town houses down the slope. Hereford seems to have been added later, and is small. A small dumpy castle is:-


These notes are not meant to describe the whole map, just to point out the two Hampshire features. Descriptions of the whole, of varying date and reliability, are found in:-
Alington, Gabriel: 1996: Hereford Mappa Mundi: Fowler Wright Books (Leominster, Hereford)

Crone, Gerald R: 1954: World Map of Richard of Haldingham: Royal Geographical Society

Crone, Gerald R: 1965: New Light on the Hereford Map: Geographical Journal: vol.131: pp.447-462

Gough, Richard: 1780: British Topography: (London): vol.1: pp.71-76 and engraving of the British Isles, perhaps inaccurate

Harvey, Paul D A: 1996: Mappa Mundi, the Hereford World Map: Hereford Cathedral & British Library:: ISBN 0 7123 0441 X (pbk)

Ladmore, F J: 1903: Ancient Mappa Mundi in Hereford Cathedral: Woolhope Club Transactions

Moir, A L: 1984 (3rd edn reprint): World Map, a simple guide: (Hereford)

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HantsMap Notes -- MAPPA1.txt
MN: 18.9.2002
last edit: 18.9.2002